James Milner

James Philip Milner (born 4 January 1986) is an English professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Liverpool as vice-captain.[7] A versatile player, he has been used in multiple positions, including on the wing, in midfield and at full-back.[8]

James Milner
Milner celebrating winning the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League with Liverpool
Personal information
Full name James Philip Milner[1]
Date of birth (1986-01-04) 4 January 1986[2]
Place of birth Leeds, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[3]
Position(s) Midfielder / Winger / Full-back
Club information
Current team
Number 7
Youth career
1996–2002 Leeds United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2004 Leeds United 48 (5)
2003 → Swindon Town (loan) 6 (2)
2004–2008 Newcastle United 94 (6)
2005–2006Aston Villa (loan) 27 (1)
2008–2010 Aston Villa 73 (11)
2010–2015 Manchester City 147 (13)
2015– Liverpool 175 (19)
National team
2001–2002 England U16 6 (5)
2002–2003 England U17 11 (8)
2004 England U19[4] 1 (1)
2003–2005 England U20[5] 6 (0)
2004–2009 England U21[6] 46 (8)
2009–2016 England 61 (1)
Men's football
Representing  England
UEFA European Under-21 Championship
Runner-up2009 Sweden
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:56, 23 May 2021 (UTC)

Milner's talent in football, cricket, and long-distance running was recognised at a young age. He represented his school in these sports and played football for amateur teams from Rawdon and Horsforth. He supported Leeds United from a young age and was a season ticket holder at the club. In 1996, he joined the Leeds Youth Academy. He made his debut for the first team in 2002 aged only 16 and gained prominence as the youngest player to score in the Premier League, and later spent time on loan at Swindon Town to gain further first-team experience. After Leeds United were relegated at the end of the 2003–04 season, Milner was sold to Newcastle United.

Milner went on to make over 100 appearances for Newcastle United, winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006, and spent a year on loan at Aston Villa, before signing for Aston Villa permanently in 2008. After winning the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2010, Milner was signed by Manchester City, and went on to win two Premier Leagues, one FA Cup, one EFL Cup and one FA Community Shield. In 2015, Milner signed for Liverpool on a free transfer, and was appointed vice-captain by new manager Jürgen Klopp. He went on to win the UEFA Champions League in 2019, as well as his third Premier League title, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Milner made a record 46 appearances for the England national under-21 football team, playing at the 2007 and 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championships, finishing as runner-up in the latter. He won 61 caps for the full national team, scoring once against Moldova. He was selected for the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup squads, as well as the 2012 and 2016 UEFA European Championships.

Early life

Born in Wortley, Leeds,[9] Milner played most of his childhood football for Westbrook Lane Primary School in Horsforth. He was later educated at Horsforth School. Graeme Coulson, a coach from Rawdon, recognised Milner's talent and persuaded him to play for Rawdon in several tournaments, including a tournament at Rawdon Meadows, where Milner scored four goals in their victory in the final.[10]

I noted his name and it was one not to be forgotten. He was an outstanding talent scoring lots of goals but he was also very strong.

–Graeme Coulson[10]

Milner was described as a "first class" student at his school; he left with 11 GCSEs and an award for his performance in physical education.[10][11]

Milner played for the Yorkshire Schools cricket team, was the cross-country champion at his school for three consecutive years and was the district champion over 100 metres for two years in a row.[10] He then completed his studies at Boston Spa School,[12] a sports college which was a partner to the football club.[13]

Milner supported his hometown club Leeds United from a young age. His earliest memory of the team was watching them win the FA Youth Cup in 1993. He and his parents, Peter and Lesley, were season ticket holders and Milner later became a ball boy for the club.[14]

When Milner was 10 years old, he joined the Leeds United Academy after being spotted by a scout while playing for Westbrook Juniors in Horsforth.[10] At the academy, Milner played against contemporaries from other clubs in the north, including future Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. His role model was Leeds-born Alan Smith, who was then a Leeds United striker. Milner believed playing with Smith put him through a learning curve, as Smith had done what Milner aspired to do; that is, to come through the academy and play for the first team.[14] Having made good progress at the Academy, Milner was taken on as a trainee after leaving school.[10] However, his father insisted that he attend college once a week to continue his education.[15]

Milner continued to excel in the youth team, and played for England at under-15 and under-17 levels.[10][16] He helped the England under-17 team win the 2002 Nationwide summer tournament against Italy, Czech Republic and Brazil, scoring a goal against Brazil.[17]

Club career

Leeds United

Milner's first-team debut for Leeds came on 10 November 2002, in a match against West Ham United, when he came on as a substitute for Jason Wilcox for the last six minutes.[18][19] The appearance made him the second-youngest player ever to play in the Premier League, at the age of 16 years and 309 days.[20] On 26 December 2002, at 16 years and 356 days he became the youngest player to score in the Premier League, with a goal in a 2–1 win against Sunderland.[14][21] His record was broken by James Vaughan of Everton in 2005.[22]

In a match against Chelsea a month later, Milner scored again, with a deft first touch of the ball and manoeuvre, in order to avoid a tackle from Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly, that won widespread praise from commentators.[23] The manoeuvre created a yard of space for him to deliver a curling shot from 18 yards (16 m).[23] Reporters were impressed by his overall performance in the match, especially by his desire, confidence, and ability with both feet.[24] Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri remarked after the match that Milner had performed like a much more experienced player.[25] The performance prompted comparisons to England internationals Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, who had also come to footballing prominence as teenagers.[26]

After more appearances for Leeds, Milner signed a five-year contract with them on 10 February 2003.[27] At the start of the 2003–04 season, Milner was sent on a one-month loan to Second Division club Swindon Town to gain experience as a first-team player.[28] Before the stint, he saw it as a valuable experience as a player.[14] He spent a month with Swindon, playing in six matches and scoring two goals against Peterborough United[29] and Luton Town.[30]

However, Leeds' fortunes were on the decline; the team became the subject of numerous negative stories in the media, and several first-team players were sold.[31] Milner said he believed that this experience made him emotionally stronger and taught him how to deal with team problems.[14] Leeds's eventual relegation to the Championship led to speculation over Milner's future at the club. Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Everton all expressed an interest in signing him.[20] Ultimately, Villa and Everton did not make offers and Milner rejected an offer from Tottenham as they were based too far from his family home, where he still lived.[32][33] Leeds insisted that he would not be sold and the chairman of the club at the time even referred to him as "the future of Leeds".[14] Nonetheless, financial problems eventually forced Leeds to sell Milner to Newcastle United for £5 million.[34] Although Milner was not happy to be leaving the club he had supported as a child, he wished to do what was "in the club's best interest"[14] and in July 2004, he agreed a five-year contract with Newcastle.[20]

Newcastle United

Milner playing for Newcastle United in 2004

Milner made his first appearance for Newcastle United during their pre-season tour of Asia, scoring his first goal for the club in a 1–1 draw against Kitchee, in Hong Kong.[35] During this tour, he took the opportunity to observe how Newcastle striker Alan Shearer dealt with attention from fans and the media and said that his association with people like Shearer gave him a better idea of how to deal with the media.[11]

Milner's first Premier League match for Newcastle came against Middlesbrough on 18 August 2004, in which he played on the extreme right of the field as a Winger, despite having featured regularly on the left for Leeds.[36] When asked about this after the match, Milner said he had no preference where on the pitch he played.[36] A month later he made his debut in European competition, when Newcastle played in the UEFA Cup against Bnei Sakhnin from Israel, after coming on as a substitute for Shola Ameobi.[37] In the same month, he scored his first competitive goal for the club, also as a substitute, in a 3–1 win against West Bromwich Albion.[38]

The situation changed for Milner after Newcastle manager Bobby Robson, whom Milner considered his mentor, was sacked and replaced by Graeme Souness.[39] Under Souness, he started 13 league matches, but did not play his first full Premier League match for Newcastle until April 2005. Milner said that he was frustrated at not being used as a starter for most of the season.[40]

At the start of the 2005–06 season, Milner scored in Newcastle's 3–1 away win against FK ZTS Dubnica in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, and also set up Alan Shearer for the team's third goal.[41]

Loan to Aston Villa

A clause in Newcastle's purchase of Nolberto Solano from Aston Villa resulted in Milner being loaned to Villa for the rest of the season.[42] Villa manager David O'Leary, who had managed Milner at Leeds, was happy to acquire Milner in this deal, saying that he believed Villa got the better of the deal and that he hoped to improve him as a player.[43][44] He made his Villa debut on 12 September 2005 in a Premier League match against West Ham United.[45] Five days later, he scored his first goal for the club in a 1–1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur.[45] In a League Cup match less than a week later, he helped his team recover from being 3–1 down at half-time to win 8–3 against Wycombe Wanderers, scoring two goals in the second half comeback.[46] Throughout the season, Milner was positive about his team. He remained confident that Villa would recover from a poor start to the season and praised the quality of the squad.[47]

Milner was generally seen as a positive signing in a season that was disappointing for Villa.[48] Milner himself also received the loan move positively, saying that he would like to join Villa permanently because of the probability of becoming a regular starter, but said that the possibility of this happening was beyond his control.[49] Manager David O'Leary confirmed during the season that he would like Milner to join the club permanently, but doubted he would be given the opportunity to sign him.[50] He even pulled out of signing Robert Huth so that he would have the funds to sign Milner permanently if the opportunity arose.[51] Shortly before the end of his loan period, negotiations between Villa and Newcastle began.

The newly appointed Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder appeared to appreciate Milner's ability more than Souness and expressed a desire that he remain a Newcastle player.[52] This, as well as the departure of O'Leary and the shortage of transfer funds at Villa, meant that a deal to sign Milner permanently seemed unlikely.[53] In June, it became even less likely when Villa rejected an offer of Milner as part of a trade for Gareth Barry.[54] However, the deal was resurrected when Villa were taken over by American billionaire Randy Lerner, and Martin O'Neill was appointed as new manager.[55] A move to Villa appeared to have been agreed, but at the last moment Newcastle recalled Milner and the talks broke down.[56][57]

Return to Newcastle United

Milner taking a free kick for Newcastle United in 2007

Newcastle's players and manager Glenn Roeder reacted positively to Milner's return at the start of the 2006–07 season.[58] Milner was a starter in the Newcastle team for the entire season.[56]

Newcastle made a poor start in the 2006–07 Premier League, but in European competition, Milner played a key role in helping Newcastle reach the round of 16 of the UEFA Cup, playing all but one of the Magpies 12 games.[59] Rumours began to spread that he would be sold during the transfer window in January, although both Milner and Roeder dismissed these rumours.[60]

On 1 January 2007, Milner scored his first goal of the season in a 2–2 draw with Manchester United.[59] The goal came from a "stunning" shot from 25 yards (23 m) away.[61] He scored two more goals during the next three weeks, against Birmingham City and then against West Ham United.[59] During the season, Milner displayed his ability to play comfortably in a range of different positions by scoring and setting up goals with both feet from both sides.[62] As a result, Milner signed a new contract at Newcastle in January, which secured his future at the club until 2011.[63][64] He signed another four-year contract in May 2007, when Sam Allardyce took over as manager of Newcastle.[65] Milner said later in the year that he was happy about his future at the club and its new manager saying that the training sessions were "the best since I have been here".[66] Allardyce said during the season that Milner was so keen to play, that he was concerned he would "burn out mentally [and] physically".[67] As a result, Milner played mainly as a substitute in the early part of the season.[68]

In late October, he scored Newcastle's 500th home Premier League goal in a 3–1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.[69] A second Premier League goal of the season came fortuitously in the Tyne–Wear derby from a shot intended as a cross.[70] Allardyce praised Milner highly during the season, saying he was "a hugely experienced Premier League player".[71]

After missing the final nine matches of the season due to a foot injury,[72] it was rumoured in May 2008 that he would be part of a transfer between Newcastle and Liverpool.[73] Despite starting the season for Newcastle and scoring in a League Cup win over Coventry City, it was revealed after the match that Milner had handed in a written transfer request the week before.[74]

Aston Villa

Milner training with Aston Villa in 2009

Milner signed for Aston Villa on 29 August 2008 for a fee of £12 million,[75] and signed a four-year contract with the club.[76] Milner made his debut for Villa on 31 August 2008 as a second-half substitute against Liverpool.[77] His first goals in his second spell at Villa came in a third round FA Cup tie against Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium on 4 January 2009 on his 23rd birthday, where he scored both goals in a 2–1 win for Villa.[78]

Milner's first Premier League goal in his second spell at Villa came on 17 January 2009 in a 2–1 win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.[79] On 7 February 2009, Milner was named to the England senior team squad for the first time, after a run at club level that had impressed England manager Fabio Capello.[80] Milner continued to impress and scored his second league goal of the season against Blackburn Rovers on 7 February and scored a free kick from outside the penalty area at home against Everton as Villa came back from a 3–1 deficit to draw 3–3 on 12 April.[81] He stated that his time at Villa is the "most settled" period of his career so far, having played for thirteen managers and caretakers despite being only 23.[82][83]

At the start of the 2009–10 season, Milner moved into the centre of midfield[84] after the sale of captain Gareth Barry to Manchester City.[85] On 28 February 2010, he scored the opening goal in the 2010 League Cup Final with a penalty.[86] Villa were eventually beaten 2–1 by Manchester United.[86] Milner ended the season with 12 goals and was named Aston Villa's Fan's Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year.[87]

On 19 May 2010, Manchester City made a £20 million offer for Milner which was rejected.[88] On 22 July 2010, Villa manager Martin O'Neill said that Milner had shown a desire to leave Villa for City, but would only be sold at Villa's valuation.[89] On 14 August despite being on the verge of a move to Manchester City, Milner played in Villa's first match of the season against West Ham United, scoring Villa's third goal.[90] Milner was given a standing ovation when he was substituted near the end of the match.[91]

Manchester City

Milner playing for Manchester City in 2012

On 17 August 2010, it was reported that Aston Villa had agreed a deal with Manchester City to sell Milner subject to a medical.[92] The deal was reported to be worth around £26 million,[93] including a player exchange of Stephen Ireland.[94] Milner made his debut for City on 23 August 2010 in a 3–0 home win against Liverpool, where he set up the first goal for former Villa teammate Gareth Barry.[95] Milner scored his first competitive goal for Manchester City in an FA Cup third-round match at Leicester City which ended in a 2–2 draw.[96] The Leicester match was the start of a cup run that saw Manchester City reach the 2011 FA Cup Final.[97] Milner was an unused substitute as Manchester City beat Stoke City 1–0 to win the FA Cup.[98]

Milner scored his first Premier League goal for Manchester City against Everton on 24 September 2011.[99] Two matches later, he scored his second, against former club Aston Villa in a 4–1 win.[100] The following week, Milner had a hand in two goals as Manchester City won the Manchester derby at Old Trafford 6–1, inflicting Manchester United's heaviest home league defeat since 1930.[101] Over the course of the 2011–12 season, Milner made 26 Premier League appearances as Manchester City won the league title for the first time in 44 years.[102]

Milner won his first Community Shield in August 2012, as City beat Chelsea at Villa Park.[103] On 6 October 2012, Milner scored his first goal of the 2012–13 season from a free kick to seal a 3–0 win against Sunderland.[104] On 20 October, he received his first Premier League red card in a 2–1 win at West Bromwich Albion.[105] On 13 January 2013, he scored City's opening goal in a 2–0 away win at Arsenal, which was the first time a City player had scored away at Arsenal in the League since 2007 and City's first win in the league at Arsenal since 1975.[106] On 8 April, he scored in the Manchester derby as City beat Manchester United 2–1 at Old Trafford.[107]

On 10 December 2013, Milner scored the winning goal in a 3–2 win against the reigning European champions Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the UEFA Champions League, becoming the first English player to score for Manchester City in the competition that season.[108][109] That season would see Milner win a first League Cup winners medal[110] and a second Premier League title.[111]

Milner's final game for City came in May 2015, a 2–0 win over Southampton.[112]


On 4 June 2015, Milner agreed to join Liverpool on a free transfer from Manchester City.[113][114] On 7 August 2015, Milner was announced as the vice captain.[115] Milner played his first competitive match for the club in 1–0 win over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.[116] Milner captained Liverpool for the first time on his third appearance for the club, a 0–0 draw at Arsenal.[117] On 26 September 2015, he scored his debut goal for Liverpool in a 3–2 win against his former club Aston Villa at Anfield.[118] He appeared in the 2016 UEFA Europa League Final at the end of his first season with the club.[119] Milner ended his first season with Liverpool scoring seven goals in all competitions.[120]

On 19 March 2017, Milner scored in Liverpool's 1–1 draw against former club Manchester City. In doing so, he broke a Premier League record by a player for the most matches scored in without losing (47 matches).[121] On 4 April 2018, he equalled the Champions league assist record (8 assists) by assisting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's goal against Man City in the quarter-final first leg.[122] On 24 April 2018, Milner broke that record, becoming the first player in Champions League history to provide 9 assists in a single season, setting up Roberto Firmino's second goal during the 5–2 semi-final, first leg win vs Roma.[123]

In November 2018, Milner scored his 50th Premier League goal during a 1–1 draw at Arsenal.[124] The following month, Milner became just the 13th player (and the 2nd youngest after former Aston Villa, Man City and England teammate Gareth Barry) in Premier League history to reach 500 appearances, during a 4–0 win at Bournemouth.[125]

On 1 June 2019, Milner won his first Champions League title, coming on as a substitute in the final against Tottenham, as Liverpool won 2–0 in the final.[126] On 14 August 2019, Milner won his first UEFA Super Cup, starting the match against Chelsea, as the Champions League holders beat the Europa League winners on penalties in Istanbul.[127]

In December 2019, Milner signed a new contract reportedly keeping him at the club until 2022, although Liverpool did not specify the contract length.[128] Later that month, Milner came on as a substitute as Liverpool won the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time in the club's history, beating Flamengo 1–0 in the final.[129]

On 25 June 2020, Milner won his third Premier League title and his first for Liverpool.[130]

Due to his age, Milner was not a regular starter during the 2020–21 but nonetheless made 26 appearances in spite of amassing just 11 starts.[131] As a result he registered his first goalless season of his career.[132] He still remained a important player as Liverpool overcame multiple difficulties to finish 3rd, qualifying for the following season's Champions League on the final day of the season.[133]

International career


Milner (right) playing for the England under-21 team

After representing England at the under-15 and under-17 levels, Milner was promoted to the under-20 level and called up for the 2003 World Youth Championship but was recalled by Leeds United 4 days before the opening game.[134] Soon after this, under-21 manager Peter Taylor called him up to the England under-21 team and Milner made his debut against Sweden on 30 March 2004.[135]

Milner scored his first goal for the England under-21 team during the 2004–05 season in a qualification match for the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, against Wales.[136] During the match, in which he played in the centre of midfield, he also set up a scoring chance for Darren Bent as the Young Lions won 2–0.[137] Despite domestic club troubles, he continued to make progress at international level, scoring the winning goal for the England under-21 team in a 3–2 win over Switzerland. The win secured England a place in the playoff stage of the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifiers.[138]

In June, Milner competed for England at the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.[139] He played in all four of England's matches and was booked in the semi-final against the Netherlands, which meant he would have missed the final.[140] The match was decided by a penalty shoot-out, in which Milner scored twice and England lost 13–12.[141] Milner was included in the under-21 squad for a friendly against Romania, which ended in a 1–1 draw.[142] A month later, Milner set an England under-21 record by making his 30th appearance for the team in a 3–0 win against Montenegro.[143] Historically, players with several England Under-21 appearances have not progressed to become regulars in the senior team, which has led some to doubt whether Milner would be able to successfully make the transition.[144] In October, he scored his third goal for the under-21 team in a 3–0 win over Republic of Ireland.[145] He scored again in the return match four months later that England also won 3–0.[146]

Milner continued to be a regular and was the only player, along with Joe Hart and captain Steven Taylor, to have played in all the qualifiers for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.[147] In the summer of 2009, he was in the final 23-man U21 squad for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Sweden.[148] He helped set up the winning goal for Micah Richards against Finland, and manager Stuart Pearce said after the match, "The modern-day full-back can get up and down the pitch and I knew [Milner] would be comfortable".[149] In England's second match against Spain, Milner had a penalty well saved by Sergio Asenjo, and scored England's second goal in a 2–0 win.[150] England faced the hosts Sweden in the semi-finals. After the match ended in a 3–3 draw, it went to a penalty shoot-out.[151] Milner was the only England player to miss in the shoot-out after he slipped just before kicking the ball, causing it to sail over the crossbar.[152] England won the shoot-out 5–4 to advance to the final for the first time in 25 years.[151] England lost the final to Germany 4–0 and Milner said after the match that the team was "hurting" and that the way in which the team lost was "not good enough".[153] The final was his last match for the under-21 team.[154] His 46 appearances at under-21 level are a national record.[155]


Milner playing for England at UEFA Euro 2012

In August 2009, Milner made his debut for the England senior team, when he came on as a substitute in a friendly match against the Netherlands for the final 23 minutes.[156] The match ended in a 2–2 draw.[156] He played again for England the following month against Slovenia in another friendly and made his competitive debut four days later in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Croatia, where he played the final nine minutes.[157][158] England won the latter match 5–1 to secure qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[158] He was named in the final 23-man squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa and was selected in the starting eleven for England's first match of the tournament against the United States, however he was substituted after 30 minutes.[159] In England's third match against Slovenia, he set up the only goal of the match with a cross for Jermain Defoe.[160] He captained England for the first time for the final 10 minutes of the match in a 2–1 loss against France on 17 November 2010, when both Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard had been substituted.[161]

Milner played in six matches during qualifying for UEFA Euro 2012, and was named in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for the tournament.[162] Milner started Hodgson's first match in charge, a 1–0 friendly win against Norway.[163] He started all of England's group stage games as the Three Lions finished top of group D and qualified for the quarter finals.[164][165][166] Where he started but was taken off after an hour as England were eliminated by Italy on a penalty shoot-out.[167]

On 7 September 2012, Milner scored his first and only international goal in a 5–0 win away to Moldova during 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.[168]

Milner was included in Hodgson's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[169] However Milner failed to secure a starting place. Only appearing once, in the final group game against Costa Rica after England had already been eliminated.

Milner was part of the England squad for EURO 2016.[170] But once again was unable to secure regular playing time. Playing just five minutes in the group stage, coming on as a late substitute against Russia.[171] And could only watch from the substitutes bench as England were humiliated by Iceland in the round of 16.[172] A result which prompted Roy Hodgson to resign as manager.[173]

On 5 August 2016, Milner announced his retirement from international duty following discussions with new England manager Sam Allardyce.[174]

Style of play

Milner playing for Manchester City in the 2014 FA Community Shield

Milner is renowned for his versatility; across his career, Milner has played as a central midfielder, a defensive midfielder and as an attacking midfielder, as well as on the wing, and as a full-back, with Milner's preferred position being as a central midfielder.[175] During his time at Leeds United, Milner predominantly played as a winger, before moving into central midfield during his time at Aston Villa.[175]

Milner is regarded as being a tenacious footballer.[15][47][176] As a result, his main role on the team is as a wide midfielder who creates scoring opportunities.[177] While Milner does not score many goals, he does have a good record at providing assists, with over 80 in the Premier League placing him 8th all time.[178][179] Nolberto Solano, a former teammate, said that because of his ability, Milner would "become an important team player".[180] After his move to Newcastle, he began playing more as a winger.[36] He has been described as "comfortable on either wing".[178] He has also been used occasionally as a central midfielder, a striker and as an emergency right-back, generally during an injury crisis.[181] Manuel Pellegrini, who managed Milner at Manchester City, described Milner as the most complete English player in the modern game praising his all round ability, commitment, performance level and versatility.[182]

Milner has the ability to pass accurately and shoot from a great distance from goal.[178] As a result, he usually goes forward for set pieces and is often a candidate to take corners and free kicks.[183] Critical opinion is divided as to Milner's crossing ability. While some commentators have been critical of his ability in this area, other journalists have said that Milner can produce accurate crosses.[178][184][185]

All my life I've wanted to do what I'm doing now. Now I'm here, and enjoying every minute of it. You've got to make a few sacrifices, but I don't mind that.

–James Milner[15]

Milner, in his time at the club, was described on the Newcastle United official website as "a good reader of the game".[186] This awareness allows him to pass the ball from a range of positions to teammates making forward runs, as well as giving him the confidence to take on defenders.[183] His awareness and willingness to pass have been called mature for a player of his age.[26]

Under Jürgen Klopp, Milner spent all of the 2016–17 season playing at left-back for Liverpool. Milner stated he did not enjoy playing as a left-back but also said: "It's about whatever's best for the team and ultimately I just want to be out there playing games, contributing and helping this football club."[187][188] He also played in a holding role and in a box-to-box role on occasion, drawing praise in the media for his dynamism, energy, work-rate, and consistent performances.[189] In 2015, The Telegraph included him at number seven in their list of "The top 20 most under-rated footballers of all time," describing him as: "hard-working, reliable and intelligent."[190]

Career statistics


As of match played 23 May 2021
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Leeds United 2002–03[191] Premier League 182400000222
2003–04[192] Premier League 3031010323
Total 48550100000545
Swindon Town (loan) 2003–04[192] Second Division 6262
Newcastle United 2004–05[193] Premier League 251401011[lower-alpha 1]0411
2005–06[194] Premier League 304[lower-alpha 2]272
2006–07[195] Premier League 353213013[lower-alpha 3]0534
2007–08[196] Premier League 2922110323
2008–09[197] Premier League 201131
Total 94682612820013611
Aston Villa (loan) 2005–06[194] Premier League 2713032333
Aston Villa 2008–09[197] Premier League 363334[lower-alpha 1]0436
2009–10[198] Premier League 36750642[lower-alpha 4]14912
2010–11[199] Premier League 1111
Total 1001211396610012622
Manchester City 2010–11[199] Premier League 32031105[lower-alpha 4]0411
2011–12[200] Premier League 26310306[lower-alpha 5]01[lower-alpha 6]0373
2012–13[201] Premier League 26460102[lower-alpha 7]01[lower-alpha 6]0364
2013–14[202] Premier League 31140306[lower-alpha 7]1442
2014–15[203] Premier League 32522208[lower-alpha 7]11[lower-alpha 6]0458
Total 147131631002723020318
Liverpool 2015–16[120] Premier League 285104012[lower-alpha 4]2457
2016–17[204] Premier League 3670040407
2017–18[205] Premier League 320210013[lower-alpha 7]0471
2018–19[206] Premier League 315101012[lower-alpha 7]2457
2019–20[207] Premier League 22220228[lower-alpha 7]03[lower-alpha 8]0374
2020–21[208] Premier League 26020106[lower-alpha 7]01[lower-alpha 6]0360
Total 17519811225144025026
Career total 5705748938911297077584
  1. Appearance(s) in UEFA Cup
  2. Appearance(s) in UEFA Intertoto Cup
  3. Two appearances in UEFA Intertoto Cup, eleven appearances in UEFA Cup
  4. Appearance(s) in UEFA Europa League
  5. Four appearances in UEFA Champions League, two appearances in UEFA Europa League
  6. Appearance in FA Community Shield
  7. Appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  8. One appearance in UEFA Super Cup, two appearances in FIFA Club World Cup


Appearances and goals by national team and year
National teamYearAppsGoals
England 200960
England score listed first, score column indicates score after Milner goal.[157]
List of international goals scored by James Milner
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
17 September 2012Zimbru Stadium, Chișinău, Moldova32 Moldova4–05–02014 FIFA World Cup qualification[209]


Newcastle United

  • UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2006[210]

Aston Villa

  • Football League Cup runner-up: 2009–10[86]

Manchester City


England U21

  • UEFA European Under-21 Championship runner-up: 2009[220]



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